Topical items and views on the impact of digitisation on publishing and its content and the issues that make the news. This blog follows the report 'Brave New World', (http://www.ewidgetsonline.com/vcil/bravenewworld.html ), published by the Booksellers Association of the UK and Ireland and authored by Martyn Daniels. The views and comments expressed are those of the author.
Saturday, March 31, 2012
Bibliophile Celebrates its 300th
At a time when many predict the death of the physical book and the bookshop and even the public library is under constant threat of closure, Bibliophile Books continues to prosper and go about its business as the UK booklover’s greatest secret. In 2011 it was granted a Royal Warrant by the Duke of Edinburgh in recognition of its quality, service, and excellence. It has been selling to the palace for some 20 years. This year on March 25th, some 34 years after it published its first mail order catalogue, it will achieve a significant milestone and celebrate the publication of its 300th catalogue.
In today’s crazy discount wars Bibliophile is about ‘everyday low pricing’ and reader value. Most titles including well-received biographies are under a fiver, making reading an affordable adventure and a lifeline service to the disabled and housebound and those who miss browsing in their local bookshop which may have closed down in recent years. However, certain titles are rare and collectable and will never be printed again like the magnificent Splendours of Iran (slipcased) published £350 at £200 and JOHN JAMES AUDUBON PORTFOLIO $1400 now £275 containing 48 loose leaf prints and book in giant slipcase.
Today Bibliophile is not just a mail order catalogue. It has just launched its second generation website, has digital newsletters, integrated email communications with customers, an active presence on Facebook, Twitter, Kindle and has created over 200 YouTube unique video book reviews which have attracted over 70,000 hits and really do show what what the book looks like inside the jacket!. They have even published books and now ebooks and plan much more.
Over half a million Bibliophile catalogues a year are distributed to tens of thousands of members all over the UK and as far away as New Zealand. Cheap and cheerful, the founders chose a newsprint tabloid format, pithy quotes humorous anecdotes and succinct in house book reviews to tempt book addicts worldwide to sample the best selection culled from publisher's front and backlists, remainder dealers, plus overstocks from a variety of sources.
Each 40 page catalogue is printed on environmentally sourced 100% recycled paper and
contains some 300 brand new books and over 1,000 titles. Every book review is written in house, reflects the Bibliophile’s unique style and is aimed at reflecting why Bibliophile selected each book and is selling it. The books cover some 30 subject categories and were published in the UK, US and Canada and include war, history, biographies, art, crime, Britain, crafts, literature, fiction, children’s, CDs etc.
300 catalogues has enabled Bibliophile to built a unique digital archive of over 60,000 book reviews which are being added to at the rate of some 3,500 a year. As vast majority of titles are no longer in-print, the Bibliophile review may be now be the only independent blurb available and of course Bibliophile knows the sales of every one.
Bibliophile is very conscious of the environment and this was a further factor in it being granted a Royal Warrant. It minimises waste by ensuring that the fewest possible catalogues are printed the mailing list is routinely pruned and controlled to ensure non-buyers, deceased and gone away addresses are not mailed. The catalogues are then despatched on a 4-7 day service in bulk, never priority as this has an inherent additional environmental impact.
Bibliophile isn't the model for the independent bookshop but does three things very well and which all can learn from; it does what it says on the door 'sells books', it knows its customers and it was built on 'everyday low pricing'.
Visit the web site Bibliophilebooks.com
View the latest catalogue:
Visit their YourTube channel Bibliophilebooks
Posted by Martyn Daniels at Saturday, March 31, 2012
Labels: bibliophile, mail order bookselling
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